Wednesday, 02 September 2015

Future looking healthy for water company

DESPITE already supplying a high-flying Scottish football outfit and Cumbria’s only football league side, a Lake District company is pushing for the big time.

DIVINE WATER: Ron Young, managing director of Flookburgh-based Willow Water HARRY ATKINSON REF: 50035434B003

Flookburgh-based Willow Water is looking to boost its share of the 2bn litre bottled water market in the UK and has upped production and trebled its output from 1.1m litres per year to 3.5m after it reassessed its production line.

The company already supplies Hibernian FC and Carlisle United and has a string of major supermarket deals.

The water is stocked in 57 branches of Tesco across the north west, 34 branches of Asda as well as north west-based supermarket chain Booths and its Lake District image has been central to this.

At present the company is among the top 50 bottled water providers in the UK.

Ron Young, managing director of the firm, said: “We’re very proud of the fact we are from the Lake District and use Lake District water.

“Sales are driven around the fact we are from the Lake District – when people come to the Lake District they do tend to use local shops.”

The increase in capacity will not see any additional machinery installed but Mr Young said since the firm was bought in 2011 they have been pushing to get the best out of the company’s equipment.

Willow Water is naturally high in salicin, a mineral with aspirin-like properties, and due to its health credentials the firm supplies Scottish Premier League high-flyers Hibernian with its water, along with Carlisle United.

He said: “The salicin is a unique selling point, it is naturally in the water and nobody else can claim that.

“We have done studies and women have said they have better skin after drinking Willow Water over a number of weeks but we can’t market it like that.”

The company is also making its way into a number of Aurora hotels and thanks to its glass packaging the firm will sell around 28,000 cases or 150,000 litres.

Its packaging has received a number of commendations.

It has now been nominated for the Water Packaging Awards, where they will be competing against heavyweight firms including Evian and Volvic.


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